Man Claims Wife, 8 Children & Family Died Of COVID-19 & Collects RM91,000 In Donations

The police said he has been garnering public sympathy with the fake story since June.

Cover image via Reuters & Bloomberg/The Straits Times

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A man in Johor who claimed that 14 of his family members have died due to COVID-19 has been arrested by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM)

According to Bernama, the man, who works at the Pengerang Integrated Complex in Kota Tinggi, was arrested and brought to the Bayu Damai police station on Saturday, 4 September.

Kota Tinggi district police chief Supt Hussin Zamora said the 45-year-old is believed to have spread the fake story to gain public sympathy and donations.

The police found that he has been collecting donations amounting to RM91,000 since June.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via New Straits Times

Hussin said the man had garnered public sympathy by spreading the fake tragic story through WhatsApp and Facebook

"[He claimed] that he is facing a severe test over the loss of his family members, and donations were banked into his account," said the police chief.

According to Utusan Malaysia, the fallacious viral message stated that the company employee has eight children, and that he had lost his wife and three children in June and July.

The message said he lost the rest of his five children, along with his mother, sister, brother-in-law, and their two children last week, and also showed his bank account number for those who wished to donate in condolences over his family's death.

In a statement, Petronas confirmed that an employee of a contractor at the Pengerang Integrated Complex has been detained by the authorities.

"We are extending our fullest cooperation to the authorities in their investigation," the company said, stressing that they do not condone such misconduct by any of their employees and contractors.

The suspect is currently under remand for four days and the case is being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating

If convicted, the man could be whipped, fined, and jailed between one and 10 years.

The police chief has also advised the public to always be vigilant before making any contributions or donations so as to not fall victim to frauds.

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